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Cummins Says He May Have Been Purged Over Fee Office Investigation; Blunt Lawyer Contacted Him During Probe

It looks like Missouri may be about to become a key front in the U.S. Attorney purge story. From a story by Richard Serrano in today's Los Angeles Times:

In an interview Thursday, Cummins expressed disgust that the Bush
administration may have fired him and the others for political reasons.
"You have to firewall politics out of the Department of Justice.
Because once it gets in, people question every decision you make. Now I
keep asking myself: 'What about the Blunt deal?'

Former Eastern District of Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins is the prosecutor who probed the Blunt administration's fee office operation last year. Fired Up! Missouri has previously reported on the peculiar timing and circumstances of the Justice Department's notification of Cummins' firing --notification made while he was in the midst of a high-profile investigation of our Republican governor.

Several of the other U.S. Attorneys purged by the Bush administration had investigated Republicans for public corruption.

Cummins LA Times interview also lends compelling insight into just how concerned Matt Blunt was about an investigation that he repeatedly claimed did not exist...

But, he said, the governor had hired a private attorney who called and
inquired about the status of the investigation. "The attorney said it
was creating a lot of media in Missouri about political pressure and
other allegations that the governor was under investigation," Cummins

He said the attorney wanted assurances that the governor was not the target "because we'd like to be able to say that."

said he did not comment to the attorney because the investigation was
confidential. He declined to identify the governor's lawyer.

The Cummins story also invites speculation that the U.S. Attorney's firing may have had something to do with the Senate race between Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent. Serrano writes:

Still uncertain exactly why he was fired, former U.S. Atty. H.E. "Bud"
Cummins III wonders whether it had something to do with the probe he
opened into alleged corruption by Republican officials in Missouri amid
a Senate race there that was promising to be a nail-biter.

It is now more clear than ever that the investigation into the Blunt administration's fee office activities was irretrievably tainted by outside political interference. The Department of Justice must immediately begin an independent review of Cummins' investigation and start providing answers as to the exact who, what, when and where of Blunt's private attorney's communications with Justice Deaprtment officials during an ongoing investigation.

Real justice demands nothing less.



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